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Can Red Meat be Part of a Healthy Diet?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page, Appetite For a Change page, and our Food Safety Research Center page.

At some point, "red meat" became taboo in the nutritional world. If you put good old-fashioned grass-fed, organically-raised meat in a nutrition analyzer, you'd find it's one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

 Still, many people want to believe that all red meat is unhealthy. A new study out of Harvard once again attempts to demonize red meati.

 And despite being profoundly flawed, the study was written up by a number of media outlets, such as The New York Times and CNN Health; their headlines warning that red meat will send you into an early grave.

 Among many other problems, the nutrition data for the study was collected via food questionnaires, meaning people had to recall what they'd eaten in the past.  Needless to say, this doesn't make for great accuracy. The New York Times reported on the study, statingii:

     "People who ate more red meat were less physically active and more likely to smoke and had a higher body mass index, researchers found.

     Still, after controlling for those and other variables, they found that each daily increase of three ounces of red meat was associated with a 12 percent greater risk of dying over all, including a 16 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death and a 10 percent greater risk of cancer death.

     The increased risks linked to processed meat, like bacon, were even greater: 20 percent over all, 21 percent for cardiovascular disease and 16 percent for cancer. If people in the study had eaten half as much meat, the researchers estimated, deaths in the group would have declined 9.3 percent in men and 7.6 percent in women."


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